College Baseball Projected Field Of 64: May 21Projections
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Another week is in the books and the postseason picture has more clarity.
UCLA has been the top national seed in our projections for several weeks, and there’s no change there this week with the Bruins still leading the charge. UCLA did not lose a midweek game this season, while it has yet to lose a weekend series entering the final weekend of Pac-12 play. UCLA has outstanding metrics across the board.
The Southeastern Conference quartet of Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Georgia and Arkansas headline the top five after the Bruins. Vandy has a stranglehold on the No. 2 spot after winning the SEC regular season title and tallying impressive metrics, including a 13-6 record vs. Top 25 RPI teams and a terrific 25-8 mark vs. RPI Top 50. MSU is one of the nation’s hottest teams and has 14 wins vs. RPI Top 25, along with a 21-9 mark vs. RPI Top 50. Meanwhile, Georgia was consistent throughout SEC play despite dealing with some serious injuries. The Bulldogs have an RPI of 3, along with 21 wins vs. RPI Top 50 teams, while Arkansas sits at 6 in the RPI and has 12 wins vs. RPI Top 25 and 20 wins vs. RPI Top 50. All four teams should be locks for top eight seeds barring a surprise on Selection Monday.
Louisville, Texas Tech and Georgia Tech round out the top eight seeds, while East Carolina is hot on the Yellow Jackets’ heels. Louisville had the top record in the ACC, possesses an RPI of 7 and has a 6-4 mark vs. RPI Top 50 and 19-11 mark vs. RPI Top 50, while the Red Raiders have an RPI of 9 along with a Big 12 regular season crown and a 15-6 record vs. RPI Top 50. The Jackets have 11 wins vs. RPI Top 25 and 17 vs. Top 50, while ECU is an interesting case. The Pirates meet the eyeball test and have an RPI of 5. However, they are just 1-4 vs. RPI Top 25 and 11-6 vs. RPI Top 50. ECU could leave the committee with little choice on the national seed front by also winning the American conference tournament. However, it’s worth noting Stetson, which had an RPI of 7 and similar metrics, was not a national seed last season. With that said, every field and committee are different, so we’ll see what happens with ECU later this week.
In terms of other hosts, there are two changes in the 9-16 range. LSU and North Carolina drop out of the hosting picture for the time being. The Tar Heels dropped out after losing two of three at home to NC State. And as a result, the Wolfpack, which finished the ACC regular season with 18 conference wins, entered as a host. LSU won two of three at home from Auburn but dropped out as a host this week after Texas A&M picked up a huge home series win over Arkansas. The Aggies have a sizable RPI advantage over LSU, 14 as opposed to 21 for the Tigers, while the 7-13 road record is troublesome for LSU as compared to a 10-9 mark for the Aggies. Both LSU and A&M could end up hosting with strong showings at the SEC tournament, while the other interesting team in the Top 16 is UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos still don’t have a win against an RPI Top 50 team but have an RPI of 13 and a sensational 44-7 overall record.
Other potential hosts to watch as this week unfolds include Illinois, North Carolina, West Virginia, Creighton, Dallas Baptist, Baylor and Indiana.
Here are how the overall bids breakdown by conference: SEC (11), ACC (9), Pac 12 (5), Big 12 (4), Big Ten (4), American (4), Missouri Valley (3), Conference USA (1) and Big West (1).
Resident bracketologist Mark Etheridge and national writers Kendall Rogers and Aaron Fitt make up the postseason field each week.
LAST FIVE IN: 60. Florida, 61. Missouri, 62. Michigan, 63. Virginia, 64. UCF
FIRST FIVE OUT: 65. Oklahoma, 66. UC Irvine, 67. Southern Miss, 68. Louisiana Tech, 69. Arizona
Projected automatic bids indicated by *